Removal of trivalent chromium contaminant from aqueous media using FAU-type zeolite membranes

Cristian Covarrubias, Rafael García, Renán Arriagada, Jorge Yánez, Harikrishnan Ramanan, Zhiping Lai, Michael Tsapatsis

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48 Scopus citations


This study demonstrates the rejection (>95%) of a toxic contaminant in tannery wastewater-Cr(III) from aqueous solutions by Faujasite (FAU)-type zeolite membranes. FAU membranes are hydrothermally grown from ZSM-2 seeds coated on both as prepared and mesoporous silica-coated porous supports (α-alumina disks and stainless steel tubular supports) and subsequently evaluated for Cr(III) removal from aqueous solutions by reverse osmosis (RO) process. The Cr(III) ions initially undergo ion exchange with the extra-framework Na+ ions in the membrane until saturation is realized. The subsequent entry of the ions is apparently prevented by the pore blocking effect of the sizably hydrated Cr(III) ions associated with the zeolite pores, thus enabling the membranes to serve as effective RO filters for the Cr(III) ions in the feed solution. In addition to this favorable ion filtration effect, the hydrophilic nature of the membranes simultaneously maintains a high flux of water through the membranes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C. Covarrubias acknowledges support from Fundación Andes and University of Concepción for a research stay at University of Minnesota and thanks to CONICYT for Scholarship of Doctorate (2001–2005).


  • Chromium removal
  • Faujasite zeolite
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Water purification
  • Zeolite membranes


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